McGregor sued by security guard stemming from UFC 202 bottle throwing incident

September 10, 2017

Conor McGregor is being sued by a security guard that claims he was hit by a can at the infamous bottle-throwing back and forth with Nate Diaz and his entourage at UFC 202.

A report from web site The Blast, was the first to report the lawsuit which claims that the security guard was hit in the back by a can.  He claims to have incurred $5,000 in medical bills and is requesting at least $95,000 based on McGregor’s reported salary of $15 million.

McGregor and Diaz were both fined by the Nevada Athletic Commission for their parts in the press conference incident that took place in August 2016 at the Copperfield Theatre in Vegas.

ESPN reports that the lawsuit was filed in March 2017 by the security guard against McGregor and his sports and entertainment company.  A motion to dismiss the lawsuit was denied in May.

Payout Perspective:

This will be an interesting lawsuit.  First, it seems that this has gone under the wire for a while which is interesting because you would think that this would have surfaced last month during The Money Fight hype.  When I used to do personal injury law, a favorable settlement was between 3 and 5 times the medical bills.  Here, it appears that he is requesting nearly 20 times the medical bills.  Notably, this case was not thrown out by the judge so there is a possibility that McGregor will need to go through discovery in this case.  However, one has to think that a settlement is being negotiated but the sides are far apart at this point.

Boxer left with brain injury and paralysis settles with New York for $22M

September 8, 2017

Magomed Abdusalamov has agreed to a $22 million injury settlement with the state of New York for injuries sustained in a fight in 2013.  The award is believed to be the largest personal injury settlement the state has ever made.  The Court of Claims of New York approved the settlement agreement on Friday.

For those not familiar, the 36-year-old Abdusalamov was the victim of improper care and the delay in receiving the proper attentionl likely caused a blood clot in the fighter’s brain.  He was forced to take public transportation to a hospital after the fight.  An investigation of the New York State Athletic Commission revealed improper conduct and training related to the medical care on the night of the fight.

Abdusalamov still is in need of medical help.  His speech is limited, is paralyzed on his right side and unable to walk due to multiple strokes he sustained.  His wife cares for him and his three daughters.  As the lawsuit continued, the family went into $2 million in debt as they had to help with his around the clock care.

For the fight, he was paid just $40,000 and received only $10,000 (the full payout) from a mandatory minimum insurance policy.

Payout Perspective:

The settlement should help with the care of Abdusalamov for what may be the rest of his life.  It will also help with the family and the education of his three daughters as it is clear he cannot provide for them financially.  The judge has to confirm these type of settlements as the money will likely be put in a trust of some sort with a legal guardian overseeing the spending so that it is not used for other purposes.  We note the amount of money he was paid and the minimal payout he received from insurance.  You may recall that boxing promoters protested the raise in insurance rates.  The increase was due in part to this incident as the insurance now requires a $1 million traumatic brain injury provision.

Payout Perspective: The Money Fight

September 4, 2017

Welcome to a special edition of Payout Perspective.  Almost a week later, but we are still talking about The Money Fight that took place August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena.

Mayweather stops McGregor in 10

Floyd Mayweather waited it out.  As most believed, he tested out Conor McGregor for the first couple around before going on the offensive.  Out of the ordinary for the counterpuncher, but Mayweather pressed McGregor and it was clear that the UFC champ was tiring.  Despite not being brought to the canvas, the fight was stopped.  A good call despite McGregor’s post-interview protesting.

Mayweather gets his 50th win against McGregor who takes his first loss of his career.  Of course, it was just McGregor’s first fight.

We should see McGregor back in the Octagon but it’s clear that Mayweather may want to dabble in boxing again.  He wasn’t the worst in there but boxing in MMA is different than boxing.

Attendance and Gate

The fight was not a sellout which was not a surprise leading into the fight.  The astronomical price to see the event without much of an undercard likely was the primary reason for a non-sell out.  Due to the prior disappointment of Mayweather-Pacquiao, the event likely scared the big spenders away.

Payouts

The official payouts from the event had Mayweather earning $100 million not including PPV upside and McGregor getting $30 million.

Attendance and gate

The only thing that may have been a disappointment was the attendance for the event at the T-Mobile Arena. The event drew 14,623 although the gate was yet to be officially announced.  It was thought that due to the high prices the event would have drawn over the $72 million record for May-Pac.  With capacity at 20,000, the event fell way short of capacity but the big financial boon was the $99.95 price tag for the PPVs.

Promotion of the Fight

The 4-city world tour this past July introduced us to The Money Fight.  Maybe the Toronto tour stop was the best and the New York/Brooklyn stop was the worst.  Whatever you thought of it, it was the beginning of a monthlong run-up to the fight.

There were tons of promotion around the event including Showtime All Access and UFC’s Embedded Episodes.  At times, it appeared that each show favored its own boxer.  As always, this shoulder programming always interests me.

Saturday Night Live did a skit during its prime time Weekend Update the week before the fight.  The skit featured someone pretending to be Conor McGregor.  It was a bad impression.

Television Ratings

The Prelims to Mayweather-McGregor on Fox peaked at 3.1 million viewers and averaged 2,568,000 viewers.   It drew an outstanding 1,156,000 viewers in the A18-49 demo.

Other associated ratings:

  • Mayweather-McGregor Prefight Show 1,463,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Postfight Show 368,000
  • Mayweather-McGregor Weigh-In 287,000
  • PBC on FS1 drew 269,000 viewers on Friday night.

PPV estimates

Dana White proclaimed that the event drew 6.5 million buys.  Showtime stated that the fight sold between 4 and 5 million buys.  Other reports stated that the initial estimates did not break the 4.6 million record of Mayweather-Pacquiao.  ESPN noted that an estimated 50 million people saw the event.

The PPV estimates will not come in until this week but Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza claims it was a “massive financial success.”  This seems like an understatement based on the numbers.

Espinoza noted in a New York Times article that 10 to 12 percent of the total buys were through a digital service.  We note the tech difficulties those users had below.

Technical Difficulties

Due to the high demand, people reported issues with their streaming of the event.  The Showtime App, UFC.tv and Fight Pass were the main culprits with issues although other ways to purchase the PPV had problems.

Showtime issued a “limited number” of refunds.  Espinoza seemed to minimize the affect the technical difficulties had claiming that they were “definitely exaggerated.”  However, the first lawsuit filed over not being able to watch the event was filed in Oregon over futile attempts to watch the vent on the Showtime App.

The fight was delayed 20 minutes to accommodate for the technical difficulties but those paying $99.95 shut out of the telecast.

The UFC did not immediately state they would issue refunds, but upon meeting with its vendor, noted that it would issue refunds for those that had issues on the UFC.tv/Fight Pass app.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal noted that the PPV issues “appeared to come from a surge of late purchase and connectivity issues.”

Related?  The UFC announced less than a week later that FITE.TV would become the UFC’s new online streaming partner.  No official word, if NeuLion is out altogether with the UFC.

Sponsors

Corona was the main sponsor for The Money Fight.  Notably, this was not rolled out until a week or so prior to the fight.  One would have thought that the sponsorship for the event would have been announced much sooner.  In addition, Body Armor was very visible during the event as “towels and stools in the fighters’ corners had the Body Armor logo on it.  Also, fighters took their hydration from Body Armor bottles.  Also, Wish Shopping made a big splash with signage on the mats and on the weigh-in scale.

McGregor wore irish flag-inspired Beats By Dre headphones for the weigh-ins.  The company also released an ad starring McGregor on August 23rd.  McGregor signed a sponsor deal with Online betting site, Betsafe.

Odds and Ends

There were tons of newsy items coming out of this event and we couldn’t get them all in.  I wrote a preview on many of the issues including the commission agreeing to the glove change and Zuffa signing on as a co-promoter here.

While the PPV estimates may break records, Showtime had to deal with pirates using Periscope.  While Showtime obtained an injunction to stop some sites, it could not stop private users.  A tech security company claimed that almost 3 million viewers watched pirated streams.

Conor McGregor’s flip up sunglasses during the promotion of this fight were reminiscent of Dwayne Wayne’s.

Conor McGregor announced the roll-out of his first foray into the whisky business:

Floyd Mayweather introduced TMT-themed apparel for this event including one with the Irish Flag colors on a TMT shirt. He also had an assortment of mouthguards.  Iceberg Guards is selling a replica guard of the one he wore during The Money Fight for $295.00.

Gervonta Davis drew 100,000 google searches on Fight Night mainly due to his headgear coming out during the walkout.  Davis won, but drew the ire of some fans since he didn’t make weight.

While the Mayweather/McGregor announcement overshadowed the rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev this past June, Top Rank attempted to take advantage of the assembled media in Vegas by announcing a deal with ESPN that would include providing the company with the Top Rank fight library for an upcoming Disney-OTT platform.

ESPN showed old Mayweather fights where analysts talked about how he was such a pro and a likeable guy.  How times have changed.  The UFC also aired his fight with Maidana on UFC online to help promote the fight.

Although there was much publicity for this fight, the Miguel Cotto fight in Carson, California on the same night drew 730,000 viewers on HBO which is very good considering it was overshadowed by The Money Fight.

Mayweather and McGregor did the standard media appearances including on Jimmy Kimmel.

There were over 10 million google searches for the “Mayweather vs. McGregor Fight,” and 10 million google searches for “Mayweather.”

Conclusion

Usually we predict a buy rate, but with the news that it’s likely between 4 and 5 million PPV buys, we don’t have to conclude that this fight was a success.  The only question will be whether the buys passed the 4.6 million PPV record.  Whether or not it did, this fight was impressive in how it was marketed and promoted.  The UFC helped its brand with its involvement in the event and Mayweather made money as he always seems to do.  Will we see more crossover fights in the future?  Only if it is big names and promises to bring in big numbers.

Boxer Austin Trout files lawsuit against WBO citing Ali Act violations

September 1, 2017

Boxer Austin Trout has filed a lawsuit against the World Boxing Organization citing violations of the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act.  It is the first lawsuit citing the Ali Act in several years.

The case originally was filed in the federal district court of New Mexico as that is where Trout resides.  The original complaint, filed in February 2016, did not include a claim under the Ali Act, instead includes allegations of Unfair Trade Practices pursuant to the local rules in the state of New Mexico, Fraud and request for Injunctive Relief.  Trout’s essential claim was that he was a highly ranked boxer that should have received a title shot but he was dropped in the rankings for what appears to be no apparent reason.  A boxer that was previously ranked below him was given a title shot.  According to Trout, it was because the promoter gave financial incentive to the WBO.  He also claims that the WBO “solicited and accepted financial remuneration from promoters and/or managers to fix ratings.”  Upon request of the reason why Trout fell in the rankings, he was not provided a response.

Attached to their original complaint was a “Show Cause” letter from the WBO to then Junior Middleweight Champion Demetrius Andrade, why the title should not be vacated due to lack of activity.  Andrade vacated the title and Trout believed that he was due a shot at the vacant belt since he was highly ranked.  However, he was not given the shot and, in fact, dropped from the rankings.  Attached in the documents is correspondence inquiring the reasons for his disappearance in the rankings.

Original Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

The WBO moved the case to Puerto Rico and attempted to dismiss the lawsuit. The lawsuit was moved to the federal district of Puerto Rico where Trout’s lawyers amended the case to include the Ali Act violation, breach of contract and fraud. They claim the requisite statutory damages and attorney fees and costs which would total $40 million.

Amended Complaint by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

This will be an interesting test of the Ali Act as there has not been a lawsuit in some time where this has been claimed.  I took a look at this a couple years ago.  For those that want to see MMA expand to the Ali Act, we shall see how this plays out.  The claim relates to the lack of a rankings system to justify championship fights.  Certainly, the UFC has not followed its own rankings and current fighters could make such a grievance against the company.  It is likely that a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint which was filed earlier this will transpire prior to the litigation of the lawsuit on the merits. MMA Payout will keep you posted

UFC and Showtime face issuing refunds after technical difficulties for Mayweather-McGregor

August 29, 2017

After The Money Fight technical difficulty situation, the UFC and vendor NeuLion must determine how to address the situation.

A lawsuit has been filed related to the technical difficulties which angered many that paid $99.95 to watch the much-hyped Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight.

ESPN reports that Showtime has issued a “limited number” of refunds to those that complained, but only for its direct-to-consumer offerings which include its streaming and app product.  Notably, the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon relates to its lead plaintiff purchasing the PPV on the Showtime App.  He claimed the event was “grainy” buffered and stalled.

The fight was delayed 20 minutes to accommodate for the technical difficulties but those paying $99.95 were shut out of the telecast.  According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the PPV issues “appeared to come from a surge of late purchase and connectivity issues.”

The UFC issued a statement via Darren Rovell:

After this statement, it has now indicated that it is reviewing PPV Fight Pass refunds on a “case-by-case” basis.

Payout Perspective:

This is as much a public relations issues as it will eventually be a legal issue.  One might understand the UFC would not want to issue blanket refunds but if the technical difficulties occurred from UFC Fight Pass subscribers that made the additional purchase, you’d have to think that at least a credit to the account is necessary.  For Showtime, it is issuing refunds but is also “passing the buck” in referring those that made the PPV purchase through a cable or satellite company to speak with them.  You have to think that UFC is pointing to NeuLion to indemnify them from any potential issues and/or seek reimbursement for any refunds that they may have to issue.  The bottom line is the concern of how much this will affect the bottom line for the UFC and Showtime.

Report states almost 3 million saw Mayweather-McGregor fight for free

August 29, 2017

According to a report from a digital platform security company, almost 3 million people watched the Floyd Mayweather-Connor McGregor fight illegally.

Irdeto, a digital watchdog with global headquarters in the Netherlands but with U.S. offices noted that there were 239 illegal streams of the fight watched by approximately 2,930,598 people.  165 of those were made available through social media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and Twitch.  67 were available through illegal streaming sites.  Kodi had six available as an add-on through the illegal streaming platform.

The report claims that due to clever marketing, consumers may have been fooled into choosing an illegal service over a legitimate service.  This is due to advertisements on e-commerce websites including Amazon.com, eBay and Alibaba.  However, a survey reflects that 52% of the consumers around the world knowingly watch pirated video content.

On Saturday, finding an illegal stream was easy.

Payout Perspective:

 While Showtime made proactive efforts to curb piracy, it could only do so much.  Notably, social media channels had the most available illegal streams which makes it hard for the IP holder to go after individuals that show the content for free.  The huge demand also made it a challenge to stop pirates.  But, with nearly 3 million watching the fight for free Showtime can feasibly say they have lost out on significant revenue.

First lawsuit due to Mayweather-McGregor streaming issues has been filed

August 28, 2017

A lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court of Oregon as a result of the streaming issues with the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight on Saturday night.

The lawsuit seeks class action status with the lead plaintiff being Zack Bartel who paid $99 to watch the fight via the Showtime App.  The Complaint includes multiple screenshots evidencing payment for the fight and the subsequent issues experienced by many due to what appears to be the high demand for the fight.  The screenshots include “grainy video, error screens, buffer events, and stalls instead” of the advertised HD at 1080p resolution.

The Complaint cites a violation of Oregon law of Unlawful Trade Practices citing that they are entitled to equitable relief and are “entitled to recover actual damages or $200 in statutory damages, whichever is greater, interest and fees and costs…”  They also cite Showtime for Unjust Enrichment in that Bartel and others paid $99 for live HD streaming services “that were never provided or received.”

The Hollywood Reporter has a copy of the Complaint.

Payout Perspective:

This is likely the first of many lawsuits to come due to the issues with the streaming services from Saturday night.  There has yet to be an organized resolution to the matter (i.e., will people be refunded for not being able to see the fight or seeing portions of it).  The lawsuit was filed due to the fact that there is the potential for attorney fees and costs as a prevailing party.  Showtime will need to figure out a legal strategy here as a lot of people will want to partake in this lawsuit.

Despite obtaining injunction, Showtime dealt with Periscope users for The Money Fight

August 28, 2017

While the Mayweather-McGregor fight trended on twitter this past weekend, so did Periscope as it became a hub of choice for people to watch the fight without paying.  Despite receiving a court order enjoining certain websites from showing the fight, the issue of individuals streaming the event is something that needs enforcement.

Showtime filed a preliminary injunction against a variety of web sites with domain names that essentially advertised that it would show the fight for free.  For example, Livestreamhdq.com, mayweathervsmcgregor.livestreamhdq.com, mcgregorvsmayweather.livestreamhdq.com, Mayweathermcgregorlivefight.us and Mayweathervsmcgregor2017live.us.  The companies with the web sites were sued for alleged copyright infringement, contributory copyright infringement and vicarious copyright infringement.  Despite receiving the signed order, it did not prevent individuals from finding individuals from streaming it live on Periscope.

TRO Order by JASONCRUZ206 on Scribd

Payout Perspective:

The move is a sign of the need for intellectual property owners to be more proactive and vigilant in protecting its copyrighted material.  I recent wrote a law review article about the issues related to streaming.  The hard reality is that technology in the form of Facebook Live and Periscope are enabling individuals to take advantage.  While the preliminary injunction focused on the threats that Showtime could find, it cannot police individuals or those that decide to live stream at a moment’s notice.  It’s hard to catch everyone and this is something that will stifle rights holders like the UFC and Showtime in the future.

Alliance MMA posts positive 2nd Quarter financial results

August 15, 2017

Alliance MMA reported its second quarter revenue and things about to be looking up.  The publicly traded company reported 48% growth in revenue on Monday.

According to a company release announcing its results it posted a 48% increase in revenue over the previous quarter, “based in part on the increment contribution of our most recent acquisitions,” per Paul Danner, Alliance MMA’s CEO.  Danner noted that the revenue showed positive momentum toward achieving “a cash-flow positive position in the not too distant future.”

Alliance MMA has 11 regional promotions in its stable and is building toward a goal of having regional promotions in the top 20 domestic media markets.  It also aims to have at least 125 professional MMA events per year.

According to CFO John Price, the collective contribution of its infrastructure of its electronic ticket platform CageTix.com, fighter management firm SuckerPunch Entertainment and regional MMA events resulted in a 43% operating margin and a 14% increase over the first quarter of the year.  Price also noted that it had a “capital raise of approximately $1,500,000” to support its ongoing acquisition program.

Payout Perspective:

The results are good news for a company that has experienced a dip in its stock and securities lawsuits due to an alleged misrepresentation in reporting.  Notably, one of those lawsuits was voluntarily dismissed according to its 10-Q and the company states that the other lacks merit.  However, it appears that the plaintiffs in these lawsuits are determining who would become the lead plaintiff in a possible class action.  Despite glowing results, the stock on the NASDAQ is up slightly as of this writing Tuesday morning at $1.40.  It has a market cap of slightly over 10 million.

Report indicates former UFC fighter indicted for match-fixing

August 14, 2017

According to a Korean news outlet, former UFC lightweight Tae Hyun Bang has been indicted accused of match-fixing.  Korean prosecutors have filed charges against the MMA fighter stemming from a fight in 2016 in South Korea.

Bang is accused of taking a bribe of almost $88,000 if he lost his fight to Leo Kuntz at UFC Fight Night 79 in November 2015.  However, according to a swing in betting lines, UFC officials warned Bang prior to the fight of match-fixing.  Bang won via split decision and according to the report, he changed his mind in fixing the fight.  Bang was the favorite at the time of the fight but a last minute swing in odds made him into a massive underdog.

According to MMA Junkie, Bang received death threats from organized crime figures that had bet on him losing the fight to Kuntz.  Junkie also notes that Bang denied knowledge of match-fixing.

This is not the first time in recent memory that the UFC has been the subject to possible match fixing.  In Sydney, Australia at UFC 193 in November 2015, there were concerns of corruption on the card.  Recall, this was the Holly Holm-Ronda Rousey main event.  There were concerns by gambling authorities of “irregularities.”

Payout Perspective:

There is no timeline on Bang’s legal issues in South Korea.  However, gambling and the UFC are tied together considering the use of betting lines when discussing and previewing fights.  It’s likely fixing fights will not occur on main events where everyone is looking at the betting lines.  Rather, it would happen with smaller, less scrutinized bouts where most are not eyeing the betting.  Key to this is the fact that the fighters are likely not making money and a lucrative bribe would be considered more than a fighter making more than the minimum 10K and 10K.  It will be interesting to see if the UFC attempts to monitor match-fixing more in the future.

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